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Addiction

I gave up. We purchased a new dishwasher.

For months, our dishwasher was the nemesis of the kitchen. It would run 80% of the time. Just enough to make you think you don’t need a new one, frustrating enough to make you want to kick it to the curb.

Water would get stuck in the drain line causing the motor to run continuously, making a melody similar to nails on a chalkboard. This song was welcomed at the most delightful times, such as the middle of the night or rushing out the door.

Thanks to YouTube I discovered a temporary fix. If you pulled the dishwasher out, unplugged it, and kept it tilted for about 15 minutes, the water would drain out and it would run like a champ. That is until I started to have confidence in it again. At which point it would recognize my false security and sing that beautiful tune again.

I was getting rather quick at the temporary fix. Little tricks, like not putting the screws in to secure it to the counter and not putting the necessary tools away sliced my time by minutes! I am convinced that if this would have continued I would have been scouted by Nascar pit crews.

This isn’t much different from addiction.

It looked good on the outside; while problems were hidden on the inside.
If you were to walk into our home you would have never have guessed our dishwasher had problems. It was hidden behind the sleek stainless steel. We would never run it while you were there just “in case.” You might have even looked at it with envy and imagined how if you had a dishwasher like this you wouldn’t even need to scrape food off of the dishes.

Even though it was working, there was always a fear that it would break again.

The first few days after I administered the temporary fix I knew it would work flawlessly. However, after day 2 or 3 the fear would creep back in, “How long could it hold up?” “I’m fooling myself.” Every midnight craving was accompanied with fear, “Could this be the night?”

It was a mess to clean up.
When I unhooked the water line and the drain pipe under the sink, water would flood the cabinets. When I pulled the dishwasher out and tilted it to reset the sensor, water would flood the kitchen. This would take several towels to soak up the water, which meant there would be several towels added to the laundry of a family of six.

Eventually the illustration breaks down.
You see, I can continue to gain knowledge about a dishwasher and eventually fix it for good. Certainly we can pretend to fix addiction by setting boundaries. We can gain more knowledge in order to try and make sense of addiction. However, boundaries and knowledge never lead us out of addiction; grace leads us out of addiction.

To overcome an addiction we don’t need to try harder, our hearts need to be made new. We need to be wiling to allow our old self to die and pick up the new life. Hearts damaged by addiction can never be healed with the things this earth has to offer, they need to be mended with things eternal. In other words, we need to be willing to let go of what we have and be satisfied in Jesus.

I am not saying that we shouldn’t have boundaries or deeper understanding of our addictions. Addiction is layered with our past, insecurities and brokenness. We continue to battle with addictions. Sometimes we have victory. Often we have failure. However, all of that, all of the mess, all of the hurt, the struggle, all of this chaos needs to keep us coming back to being satisfied in Jesus. I appreciate the way A.W. Tozer captures this thought:

“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me. Say to my soul, ‘Rise up my love, my fair one, and come away.’ Then give me grace to rise and follow Thee up from this misty lowland where I have wandered so long.”

A.W. Tozer

What has worked (or hasn’t worked) for you in overcoming addiction?

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